Time to get stuffed: Stuff A Truck campaign looks for 25,000 pounds of food
BEMIDJI -- The goal is 25,000 for year No. 24. The 24th annual Stuff A Truck campaign started Nov. 2 as area students started stocking classrooms with food for the campaign, which benefits the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. Last year, schools alon...
BEMIDJI -- The goal is 25,000 for year No. 24.
The 24th annual Stuff A Truck campaign started Nov. 2 as area students started stocking classrooms with food for the campaign, which benefits the Bemidji Community Food Shelf.
Last year, schools alone gathered 9,850 pounds of food and $1,805 during the event that uses a semitrailer to gather food and donations. This year, the food shelf wanted to spread that interest to area businesses.
Marketplace Foods, a sponsor of the campaign, will host the trailer at their location on Friday and Saturday. Donations were gathered from schools on Wednesday and will be Thursday, as well.
“The kids have done a phenomenal job with bringing in food and money in the past,” said Mary Mitchell, Bemidji Community Food Shelf manager. “We thought it would be fun to kind of challenge area businesses to also participate.”
In addition to Sanford Health and First National Bank, who participated last year, Ultima Bank and an employee club at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are also collecting donations for Stuff A Truck. The Bemidji Eagles Club is also having a fundraiser, which wasn’t planned to be part of the campaign, but will be counted, according to Mitchell.
The food shelf is asking the community to help reach their goal of 25,000 pounds of food and $8,000 in cash donations this year.
“The cash donations are so important,” Mitchell said. “Right now we’re having a difficult time paying our bills because I think there was a lot of excitement generated around the move to the new building, so there was extra excitement and community support around that time.
“Now things have kind of returned to a more normal pace, people aren’t maybe thinking about the food shelf as much.”
The increased cost in food has also been a burden for the food shelf, according to Mitchell. The food shelf chose to supply eggs after the bird flu outbreak last year, which caused eggs to double in price.
“On the national scale, large corporations are just not donating food to the Feeding America program like they used to, and I think everybody’s kind of tightening their belt, even though the economy has supposedly improved,” she added.
On average, Mitchell said that between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds of food goes out the door of the food shelf each day they’re open. She added that the food shelf would really appreciate canned fruits and canned meats such as tuna or chicken. Personal care items are also welcome.
Marketplace Foods is selling $5 bags of food (worth about $10 retail) that customers can purchase to donate to the Stuff A Truck campaign.
“We’re collecting stuff and we have been for a week or so now,” said Mike McNiel, store director at Marketplace Foods. “So people can come in, and even last year we had donations come in after the truck left, and we get them down to the food shelf.”
The truck will be parked at Marketplace Foods on Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It will then move to the Sanford Center at 6 p.m. for the Bemidji State men’s hockey game against Lake Superior State. If game attendees bring a donation of $5 or more, they’ll be able to purchase a ticket for $12.
Paul Bunyan Communications and the Bemidji Pioneer are also sponsors of the event.